Sunscreen & Vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin DThe official start of summer in Minnesota is only a couple of weeks away, so it is probably safe to say that the sun is finally here to stay – for the next few months at least.  With that said, we should all be thinking about and protecting our bodies’ largest organ – our skin. More time outside means more sunscreen for a lot of people. With hundreds of brands on the market, how can we determine which one is best?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They recommend that sunscreen should be used as a last resort. Dressing properly and spending time outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings when the sun is not at its peak are more natural ways to avoid sunburn. Most sunscreens contain an abundance of chemicals. The effects of many of these chemicals on human health have not been studied well enough to deem them truly safe for use.

The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreen

Each year, the EWG publishes a sunscreen guide. The guide offers the general public information on specific sunscreen brands. The guide also provides the EWG’s picks for best and worst brands. Brands are chosen based on their ingredients, consideration of potential health hazards, and how well they actually work.

According to this year’s Guide to Sunscreens, one chemical that we should all avoid when purchasing sunscreen is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient that was found in over half of the sunscreens that the EWG studied this year. Oxybenzone is known to cause allergic skin reactions. It has also been linked to hormone disruptions such as altering sperm production in men. Additionally, it has been associated with endometriosis in women. Given these findings, when considering your sunscreen purchases you should avoid those that contain oxybenzone.

On top of the endless list of chemicals in most sunscreens, some individuals must be even more cautious because of their higher risk of getting sunburn. These include women on birth control, babies and toddlers and individuals with fair skin. These individuals should be especially careful with their sun exposure and would probably benefit the most from using natural holistic remedies for sunburn and sun protection, such as monitoring the amount of time spent in the sun and finding and using shade often.

The toxins and chemicals from sunscreen can be absorbed through the skin.

The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite the fear of the sun that has been instilled upon most of us, the sun is not all bad. It is the source of almost all of the earth’s energy and can provide humans with the vitamin D we require.  Spending a short amount of time in the sun each day can give our bodies the vitamin D we need. This is why vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This is also one of the reasons why it feels so good to step outside after many hours indoors. The sun’s rays are a providing us with an essential vitamin.

Vitamin D, depression, anxiety

Unfortunately when sunscreen is applied it prohibits the skin from absorbing the sun’s rays and producing vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital to regulating and absorbing certain minerals such as calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones in children and bone loss in adults. On top of the physical detriments, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression here.

According to a 2009 study, about three-quarters of teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. At the same time, the use of sunscreen has increased dramatically. Because there are many factors associated with getting vitamin D from the sun, it is often hard to measure.

What Can You Do?

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms range and many are vague. Common symptoms include: fatigue, aches, pains, and pain and weakness in the bones, depression, decreased immunity. Some people may not have symptoms at all.

If your skin isn’t getting daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen, vitamin D supplements can be taken. I recommend having your vitamin D tested through a simple blood test. As naturopathic doctors in MN, Balanced Care offers testing for vitamin D deficiency. If you do not fall in the optimal range we will use natural treatments to increase your vitamin D up to its appropriate level.

Did you miss a spot? Aloe to the rescue!! Apply aloe vera right away and continue applying for a few days. Skip the green goo and go for the organic stuff 😉

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathWe offer naturopathic medical services in Minnesota. Located in Edina and Woodbury. Dr. Katie specializes in addressing the root cause using natural medicines and nutrition. For a complimentary 15 minute consultation you can schedule online here.

Could You Be Suffering From Candida?

candida overgrowth, digestion, IBS, celiac, colitis

Candida Overgrowth (Or Candida Albicans)

The weather is finally warming up. For most of us this means that plenty of get togethers and an abundance of decadent food and drinks are right around the corner. For those of you struggling with digestion issues, however, just thinking about the food and beverages probably has your stomach churning. Digestive disorders can take the fun out of our most enjoyable moments. They don’t have to however. The faster we can pinpoint the cause, the sooner you can enjoy life normally again.

One disorder that has been getting a lot of attention lately is candida overgrowth or candida albicans, its official term. Candida is a type of yeast, or fungus, that is found naturally in the body. For the most part when the bacteria in your body is balanced, candida is not a cause for concern. However, if you are living with an overgrowth of candida or a lack of good bacteria in your gut, you may experience one or a number of symptoms that can wreak havoc on your body and spoil the fun at your future gatherings.

Digestion, IBS, celiac, colitis

Symptoms and Causes of Candida

Symptoms of candida can vary, but include anxiety, depression, yeast infections, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, foggy thinking, fatigue, and skin issues. Like most ailments candida overgrowth can make you feel terrible. If you find yourself enjoying a couple of beers or other delights this season only to be followed by bloating and digestive discomfort, you may be suffering from candida.

Other common symptoms of candida include severe allergies, sugar cravings, and respiratory problems. Whether you are experiencing one or a few of these issues, candida can truly interfere with your quality of life.

So, what causes candida overgrowth? Eating a standard American diet that includes a lot of carbohydrates and highly refined foods is one of the many causes of candida. Candida feeds off of sugar and processed foods, allowing it to grow and take over your intestinal tract. Another cause of candida overgrowth includes the heavy use of antibiotics, which may have killed off the good bacteria while treating the bad. Birth control pills, stress and even chemotherapy are additional common causes.

Natural Treatment for Candida?

If you suspect that you may be suffering from candida, one of the simplest things that you can do is to change your diet. Eat a diet without sugar or yeast and full of fresh produce and quality protein.

Candida cleanses and diets are currently being marketed everywhere. Some cleanses include the use of probiotics. Although these diets may be beneficial to some candida sufferers, they might not work for everyone. The best thing to do is to work with your physician to determine what will work for you. This could save you money and possible disappointment.

Given the varying degrees of symptoms, candida affects its victims in many different ways.

Diagnosis

Sometimes candida overgrowth can appear visually on the tongue. If you take a look at your tongue and notice white coating it is likely that you have candida overgrowth. However, the only way to know is to get tested by a doctor.

Many candida overgrowth symptoms can be vague. Therefore, it can be hard to determine whether you are actually dealing with candida. Testing will help you determine and confirm whether candida is the true cause of your discomfort.

At Balanced Care we offer specific testing in order to find out whether or not you are truly suffering from candida overgrowth. If it turns out that you have other ailments but have misdiagnosed yourself as suffering from candida, this could potentially lead to more health problems. Testing positive, we will use natural remedies for candida or yeast overgrowth that are best for you.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodbury

The Insulin – Cortisol Connection

Adrenal fatigue

Do you have stress in your life? I think it would be fair to say that we are stressed at varying levels. But how does stress and insulin affect your energy, weight, cravings, or fat distribution? I talk about this with my patients all. the. time. Let me break this down.

stressed women, adrenal, fatigue, motivation, depression

First, let’s talk about insulin. Insulin is famous for its relationship with glucose. As a hormone, it shuttles glucose into fat, muscle and the liver to be stored for use at a later time. We eat various forms of sugar and carbohydrates → increases blood sugar → pancreas secretes insulin → insulin directs glucose into cells → blood sugar levels decrease. → Make sense ← Check out this 1 minute video for a visual:

 

Fat production is increased by insulin while burning fat is inhibited.Exercise, health, weight lift, running, cardiovascular

Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes develop from a diet rich in processed foods and sugar. Eventually, if left unregulated, the pancreas will struggle to make enough insulin. This is prevented and treated with a proper diet and regular exercise. It really is that simple…Or is it?

Enter cortisol, insulin’s bestie. Remember that little thing called stress? Working too much, not getting enough sleep, life, kids, a marriage, bills to pay, a car to fix, a sick parent – we all have it. As you try to balance life, cortisol is there to help. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during times of stress to help you “survive”. The adrenals are part of the ‘fight or flight response’.

Chronic stress can cause a kink in the system. The adrenals start sending out too much or too little cortisol and at the wrong times of the day, resulting in adrenal fatigue. The consequence? Fatigue, sleep issues, weight gain (especially abdominal), and cravings.

stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety

THE CONNECTION – if cortisol increases, so does insulin. A study looked at 766 Chinese men and women to see if cortisol and insulin are related. The study showed that the men and women who reported having “demands” and “insecurity” at work had higher levels of cortisol AND insulin resistance. The results “showed that chronic stress was associated with insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of insulin resistance.”

The reverse can cause problems too – when insulin is around cortisol triglycerides accumulate in the abdomen resulting in abdominal obesity.

Even if you are of normal weight or maybe a little over weight, but do not have insulin resistance, cortisol will still behave the same way for you.

Follow these simple tips to make the cortisol and insulin work FOR you and not AGAINST you:

1. Eat 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack ONLY. Snacking or eating several times throughout the day causes more spikes in your glucose and insulin throughout the day. Your metabolism will be A-OK with eating only 4x per day.

2. Find effective coping techniques to relieve stress – this will help reduce your cortisol and protect your adrenals. A bath, bike ride, meditation, walk, yoga, reading, painting or drawing are just a few ideas.

 

3. Stop eating so much sugar. Just stop! It is in everything so even if you think you aren’t eating it, you probably are. Indulge once in a while, but make sure it is very limited in your regular diet. Remember sugar spikes your insulin.

4. Eat balanced meals: tons of veggies, 4-5 ounces of meat or 20 grams of protein, and healthy fats.

kale, veggies, health, nutrition, holistic, naturopathic

5. Have 5-9 servings of veggies daily!

6. Sleep! Your adrenals need sleep to repair and recover from stress. A study showed that for every 1 hour of sleep lost per day there is an increase of .35 in body mass index (BMI). This is about 2 pounds in a 35-year-old female who is 5’4” and 160 lbs. Sleep duration may also be a predictor of weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

PCOS, infertility, dysmenorrhea, irregular menses, women's health

 

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathIf you are looking to dig deeper into this issue, please contact me for an appointment – I would love to help. We offer saliva hormone testing to help evaluate metabolic function with dramatic changes in patients energy, food cravings, weight, blood sugar, and overall healthy. I hope to hear from you soon! To schedule visits, including complimentary 15 minute in-person or phone visits at my Edina or Woodbury locations, visit this link.

 

 

Strength Training and Cardiovascular Health

bigstock-Gym-woman-strength-training

Strength Training and Cardiovascular Health information from Discover Strength

This post is from  Discover Strength  a premier personal training gym. They focus on science-based strength training with time-efficient affordable workouts. Dr. Katie trains with them and absolutely loves it. Check this article out about how strength training can not only improve your fitness, but your cardiovascular health as well.

It is well established that aerobic exercise increases the elastic properties of the arteries.  This is a very positive adaptation as the compliance of our blood vessels plays an important role in predicting cardiovascular events.

Until recently, physicians and researchers assumed that intense resistance training reduces the compliance of our major blood vessels; of course, this is a bad thing as increased “stiffness” of the blood vessels predisposes us to cardiovascular disease.  However, very little research has existed to support this contention.  Authors of a recent research study published in the Journal of Hypertension (February 2014) sought to determine the impact of long-term, intense strength training on arterial “stiffness.”  The researchers concluded,

“Long-term intense resistance training in men decreased aortic stiffness… and preserved cardiac structure/function when compared with well matched untrained healthy controls.”

This important study contributes to the growing body of literature that represents a paradigm shift from defining the benefits of resistance exercise as increased muscle strength, bone health, and body composition, to a more robust profile of cardio-metabolic health benefits.   Indeed, “strength training” is more properly coined, “resistance exercise.”

  • It is well accepted that aerobic exercise increases the elastic properties of central arteries (elasticity in our vessels is important in preventing cardiovascular disease!)

  • The research and/or opinions on whether or not strength training is good or bad for the elasticity of our vessels is mixed (and much of the thought is that strength training REDUCES elasticity AKA “compliance” of the vessel… and this is why many cardiologists have been anti-strength training. This was a longer term study with trained runners and trained strength training subjects (and the strength training group had to have been strength training 5 times per week!)… The researchers even speculated that half of the strength training participants were on steroids! Subjects were in their mid-30’s.

human-heart

  • Endurance running led to improvements in vascular function – “We confirmed that long-term endurance training is associated with the classical cardiovascular and hemodynamic adaptations and with decreased aortic stiffness.”
  • Main finding:  Our main finding was that long-term intense resistance training men presented decreased aortic stiffness (PWV values similar to endurance runners) and lower cAP, a trend to longer T1 and Trw, normal central aortic pressures, and preserved cardiac structure/function when compared with well matched untrained healthy controls.
  • In conclusion, besides the benefits of improvements in the musculoskeletal functions, it seems that long-term IRT is not associated with detrimental effects on central artery elastic properties or wave reflection or cardiovascular structure and function of healthy individuals.

bigstock-Gym-woman-strength-training

Take home message in simplest terms:

It has long been assumed that intense strength training over a long period of time has a negative impact on artery/vessel elasticity and function (this is a bad thing). However, the results of this study show that intense strength training actually improves elasticity (i.e. Decreased aortic stiffness) in healthy adults (a good thing!).

Top 10 Sleep Tips For Babies

baby, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

sleep, baby, infant, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

Welcome Baby Care is a local business in Edina here to support moms and their babies pre and postpartum. Doulas, lactation consultants and in home care are their specialties. They have lots of experience and here are their favorite sleep tips for babies from 4-12 months.

1. No Solids at Bedtime

Solids offer little nutritional value at this age. The primary source of nutrition for infants in the first year of life is human milk or formula. Solids can also be difficult for an immature digestive system to digest and can often cause or exacerbate reflux, gas or tummy pain – all things which disrupt sleep! Offer solids no later than 5pm.

2. Tank Baby Up

Cluster feeding in the evenings is normal for breastfeeding babies! Melatonin levels in mother’s milk increase in the evening hours, helping baby sleep. Offer baby breast or bottle shortly before bedtime in a room other than Baby’s bedroom so that he learns to break the feeding-sleep association. Watch for drowsiness and end the feed at this point, putting baby down sleepy.

3. Choose a Bedtime Between 6 and 8 p.m.

Infants are biologically wired to go bed early! 11-12 hours is the expected amount of sleep needed, broken up by 1-2 feeding sessions. Choose a time that you can be consistent with and can commit to, taking into account both Baby’s needs and the family’s schedule.

4. White Noise

A must have! Infants are comforted by those womb sounds that they heard for 9 months. The noise should be not too loud, but not too quiet. Water sounds work well.

5. Darken Baby’s Room

The darker the better. No night lights. Black out shades are recommended, especially for naps and during the summer months.

Sleep, fatigue, adrenal6. Clear Out the Crib

Remove toys, mobiles and playthings. Keep the bed a place for sleeping only! It’s not a bad idea to limit active play in Baby’s room in general.

7. Add a Lovey

For babies 6 months and older, learning to emotionally self-regulate can be advanced by attachment to a soft inanimate object. Lovies need to have a FACE. Faces are processed in the emotion centers of the brain, triggering positive, calming responses.

8. Lower the Temperature

A cooler sleep environment keeps Baby from overheating. Set your thermostat at 68-72 for the night.

9. Consider a Dream-Feed

Feed Baby when YOU want go to bed (usually between 9 and 11 p.m. or about 3 hours from baby’s bedtime feed) either breast or bottle, even if Baby is sleeping and not cueing for food and especially if she wakes frequently for feeds or is in an active growth spurt. Do not wake Baby fully – just offer and see what she takes!

10. Reduce Stimulation

At least 1 hour prior to bedtime, quiet the home. Turn off TV, silence the phones and dim the lights. Engage Baby in quiet, calm interactions only! A bath may or may not be recommended, depending on Baby’s temperament. 30 minutes prior to bedtime, change Baby into PJs and a clean diaper. Add diaper cream! Sleeping through a wet diaper requires prevention for diaper rash.

And that’s it – Welcome Baby Care’s top 10 sleep tips for babies.

Thank you Welcome Baby Care!

“Skinny” Rosemary Vodka

skinny rosemary vodka, drink, beverage, healthy, low-sugar

This is a first! I haven’t mentioned drinks yet on my blog, but this recipe felt worthy. Confession: I indulge from time to time with an adult beverage. Ok, I said it. This does not mean I recommend it for everyone or even recommend it often. However, I know many of you out there indulge from time to time so I wanted to share this fabulous “skinny” rosemary cocktail with you.

Picture this: A long work week is wrapping up and you are hosting a cocktail party for friends this weekend. You want to impress your friends by serving a fun cocktail, but are trying to avoid sugar as much as possible or have made it a goal to lose some excess weight. Now what?!

Keep reading.

I have to give most all the credit to my sister, Erin who came up this genius idea (I am sure pinterest had nothing to do with it). Naturopaths love their herbs so when I can incorporate them into food or drinks, it is a win-win. Rosemary happens to be one of my favorite spices (a close second to cinnamon!) and it is also the star of this cocktail.

Infusion, cocktail, health, low sugar, skinny

Did you know that rosemary stimulates the nervous system to enhance your well-being? Studies have suggested that rosemary can help increase alertness and lower anxiety. Rosemary has also been shown to improve blood circulation which can lead to improved memory, vision, and mental clarity.  Lastly, rosemary can even help with digestion which can reduce gas and bloating. What more can you want from an herb?

 

Adding vodka to rosemary might alter the benefits a bit, just fyi ;).

For this recipe you will infuse vodka with fresh rosemary sprigs for a couple days before your party and wah-la! You have a creative, stylish, and tasty drink for your guests.

Ingredients (serves about 20 drinks, you may need to double or triple recipe):

1 liter organic vodka

1 package fresh rosemary

4 bottles soda water (not tonic water)

2  limes

2 lemons

2 cartons of raspberries

Directions:

Vodka infusion:

 

  1. place 3 sprigs of rosemary into liter of vodka 3 days before drinking

Skinny Rosemary Cocktail:

 

  1. Muddle 4 raspberries
  2. Add 3 ice cubes
  3. Add 1 ounce of rosemary infused vodka
  4. 4-8 ounces of soda water to taste
  5. squeeze fresh lemon and lime into drink
  6. Enjoy!

Skin vodka, rosemary, drink, beverage, healthy, low-sugar

 

 

~Your friend, Dr. Katie

Top 8 Naturopathic Sleep Remedies

Insomnia, tea, coffee, chamomile, natural treatment

insomnia, anxiety

Naturopathic sleep remedies to improve your overall health.

Most people know they need 8 hours of sleep. This is not new news, but the National Institutes of Health reported that 30% of adults were sleeping less than 6 hours per night. Did they miss the memo or were they overthinking, anxious, worrying, restlessness, in pain, uncomfortable, or was their mind racing so much it impacted their sleep?

Did you know that 27.6% of people in Minnesota sleep less than 7 hours per night according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). They also found that more than half of Minnesota snores, and here is a scary fact: 3.1% have nodded off or fell asleep while driving within the past month. Yikes.

Sleeping is more than just about having good energy, feeling your best, and staying safe on the road. Sleep is also critical for preventing chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and anxiety. Here are some problems that can result from not sleeping the full 7-8 hours per night:

Holistic, naturopathic, natural medicine

So what can you do to improve your sleep?

Chamomile tea, insomnia, sleep, anxiety1. Chamomile Tea

Turn on relaxing music and sip on this calming herb at night before bedtime. Chamomile tea is a great natural treatment for sleep that is safe in pregnancy. Always check with your doctor before using however.

2. Melatonin

This hormone is made in the brain to regulate the sleep and wake cycle. Melatonin is secreted when it is dark and broken down in the light. Do you notice feeling tired earlier in the evening during the shorter winter days? Melatonin could be to blame.

The adrenals send out cortisol during times of stress. As cortisol increases with stress, your body responds by reducing melatonin. Lower levels of melatonin during chronic stress can begin to affect your sleep. Stress reducing techniques are equally if not more important and adrenal support may be necessary.

Tip: If you feel drowsy the morning after taking melatonin, you have taken too much. Dosage is important with this natural sleep treatment.

3. Exercise

Exhaust your energy during the day so you will be ready to sleep. Be wary of exercising late at night as this can prevent you from falling asleep. Studies have revealed that those who exercise experience more restful sleep; however if exercise (cardio specifically) is done later in the day it can have the opposite effect. One study looked at the effect weight lifting has on sleep when performed at 7 AM, 1 PM, or 7 PM. They noticed that the early morning workouts resulted in the subject falling asleep faster, but the 7 PM workouts led to a more restful sleep. The bottom line is that exercise improves sleep, so just do it.

4. Hydrate smart

water, hydrate, dehydrationDo you fall asleep easily, but wake several times during the night to use the bathroom? If so, it is time to rethink your hydration schedule. Drink water and caffeine earlier in the day. My rule is no caffeine after 3 PM. If you are like me and crave warm beverages in the winter, reach for an herbal tea or hot water and lemon. Check the label to make sure it is caffeine free.

Pair water with dinner, but slowly sip in the evening if bathroom trips are waking you at night. Soda should be avoided regardless of your sleep patterns, but especially if you have problems sleeping. Soda contains sugar, sweeteners, and caffeine – 3 no-no’s for sleep.

 

Protein, health, insomnia, heart disesase

5. Eat for your sleep

When and what you eat is important to consider when improving your sleep. Avoid eating within 2 hours of going to sleep. Find yourself reaching for a carb or something sweet in the late afternoon? What about at night? This might be an sign that your adrenals need a little help. The sugar can help with energy for a short time, but a crash usually follows. Combine carbs and sweets with a little protein to help protect your blood sugar.

In a review by The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine they stated that, “…difficulty falling asleep was associated with decreased protein and fiber intake; difficulty maintaining sleep was associated with decreased protein, carbohydrate, and fiber intake; non-restorative sleep was associated with decreased protein and fiber intake; and daytime sleepiness was associated with decreased protein and fiber and increased sugar intakes.” The common denominator seems to be protein and fiber. Include good quality protein at meals and snacks and don’t forget about your veggies and whole grains for fiber.

Foods to improve sleep: nuts, eggs, fish, bananas, walnuts, and pineapple

Foods to avoid: meat, spicy foods, fried foods, rich and/or salty, alcohol, coffee, caffeine 

6. Magnesium

Do you enjoy taking a bath before bedtime? Soak in an epsom salt bath to increase your magnesium. Magnesium dilates blood vessels and is relaxing to muscles. Relax with a cup of chamomile tea while in the bath for added benefits! Magnesium is a great natural treatment for sleep.

Sleep, app, track, insomnia

7. Track your sleep with sleep app or fitbit 

Do you wake feeling unrefreshed? If the answer is yes, your sleep may be compromised. Oftentimes we don’t realize that we aren’t sleeping through the night, but a sleep app or the fitbit can help you find out. This is also helpful when beginning a new regimen. The app can help track your progress – is the new protocol working, or not?

8. Sleep Hygiene! 

  • Eliminate sleeping pills, alcohol, or recreational drugs. Naturopathic medicine can help you with this.
  • Avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime – turn off the TV and other electronics
  • Stick to the same bedtime every night, even if you didn’t sleep well the night before and want to crash early. This also means avoiding naps during the day, because they make it more difficult to stick to a sleep schedule at night.
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only!
  • Maximize your sleeping environment – comfortable mattress and pillow, temperature, dark, quiet, etc.
  • Sorry pets, but you need to sleep elsewhere.
  • Read, meditate, or take a hot bath before sleeping
  • Focus on your breathing – breath for 4 counts in, hold for 4, release breath for 4, and hold for 4. Repeat. This helps stimulate your sympathetic nervous system.

And there’s our top 8 naturopathic sleep remedies. If you struggle with reflux, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, diabetes, restless leg, or have a medical issue that interferes with your sleep, seek medical care with your Naturopathic Doctor. Dr. Katie can help those of you who may not know what is causing your sleeping issues and find natural treatments for your sleep. 

Thanks for reading friends!

Katie Corazzo, ND

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

This list is not account for individual differences or specific medical concerns. Dr. Katie treats sleeping issues and conditions that cause insomnia by addressing the underlying issue using natural medicine. She practices in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota and would be happy to chat with you if you have any questions about her services. You can also schedule appointments and complimentary 15 minute consults online

 

 

Four Aspects of Health Enhanced by Pets

Kids, healthy, allergies, asthma

Dr. Rebecca Amstutz is an experienced Certified Animal Chiropractor at Perpetual Motion throughout the Twin Cities. This article was written by Dr. Amstutz for all the pet lovers out there. 

The majority – almost 70% – of households in the United States own at least one pet. And most pet owners don’t need to be told that animals make them feel good. In fact pets can make us healthy and help us stay that way. You might be surprised at how many ways pet ownership can impact your health.

Numerous studies provide evidence that pets favorably impact our emotional and physical health, diminish the effect of chronic illnesses and enhance quality of life.

  1. Emotional Health Enhanced by Pets

Dogs, health, mental health, depression, anxietyPets are natural mood enhancers. When you spend time with a cat or dog or watch fish swim, your body actually experiences physical changes that impact your mood. Serotonin, a chemical related to well-being, increases and cortisol, a hormone associated with stress decreases.

No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet. Petting an animal has a calming effect, so therapists have been known to recommend interacting with animals as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression.

Pet owners have a tendency to want to talk with other pet owners. Staying engaged with others is key to a healthy mind. Have you noticed that a dog within view is a conversation waiting to happen? Dog people will naturally stop and talk with other dog owners.

Animals in homes of people with Alzheimer’s or AIDS not only help the patients feel less depressed and have fewer anxious episodes, but the animals also help caregivers feel less burdened.

  1. Physical Health Enhanced by Pets

Blood pressure, hypertensionHaving a pet can help you manage your blood pressure. One study demonstrated that pet owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates than non-pet owners. Another study showed children with hypertension actually lowered their blood pressure by petting a dog.

Dogs and cats are good for your heart. Research has shown the long-term benefits of owning a cat include protection for your heart. Over the 20 years of one study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure.

Kids, healthy, allergies, asthma

Researchers have found that when children grow up in a home with a dog or cat they are less likely to develop allergies. The same is true for kids who live on a farm with large animals. In addition, higher levels of certain immune system chemicals show a stronger immune system, which will help keep them healthy as they get older.

Pet allergies are one of the most common triggers of asthma; however, research has shown that people who lived with cats as infants were less likely to develop asthma as they got older, with one exception: children whose mothers are allergic to cats are three times more likely to develop asthma with early exposure to cats.

Pet owners can diminish osteoporosis and arthritis with their pets. Walking your dog, a weight-bearing exercise that strengthens bones and muscles, helps defend against osteoporosis. Cat owners can mimic their cat’s stretches throughout the day as a reminder to stretch frequently. Coordinate taking medications, stretching and even doctor/veterinary appointments as a way manage both your pet’s and your own arthritis.

Some rehab programs for stroke patients use horses to help with recovery. Often, people who have had strokes start riding with someone walking alongside them as someone else leads the horse. Horseback riding gives stretching exercise, which is especially good if one side has been made weaker. It also helps the person regain balance and build core strength.

  1. Fitness and Diet Health

fitness, exercise, animalPeople who own dogs are less obese and more physically active than people who do not. It is common to walk with your dog, but other forms of exercise can be shared – with mutual benefit. Hold a flashlight or string while you do step aerobics and watch your cat participate. Doga (yoga classes for people and their dogs) are becoming more popular, with regular classes offered at some centers.

  1. Quality of Life

Health, anxiety, wellbeingThere are a number of chronic conditions for which pets are being trained as health aides. For example, some dogs can alert their owner with diabetes of a dangerous drop in blood glucose before the person actually senses the change. Similarly, some dogs are trained to alert their owners prior to the onset of epileptic seizures or to perform specific functions for people with Parkinson’s or physical and mental disabilities.

Humans are benefiting from new research on pet cancers; both dogs and cats can get the same kinds of cancer that humans do. Treatment therapies are customized based on successful outcomes for pets.

Working with and caring for a pet can help children with ADHD. Playing releases excess energy. Pet care responsibilities on a schedule can help the child learn to plan. Also, the unconditional love a pet provides helps the child with ADHD learn about self-esteem.Anxiety, stress, dog

Pets are used with children with autism to help address sensory issues like touch, smell and sound. Children usually find the animals hold their attention, while also providing a sense of calm.

Additionally, pets are enhancing quality of life for patients requiring therapy after a stroke or brain injury and in hospitals and nursing homes.

There you have it. Four ways in which our health is enhanced by pets.

 

Dr. Rebecca Amstutz, DC, CVSMT has been treating Twin Cities’ pets since 2010. The emphasis at Perpetual Motion Animal Chiropractic is to provide a natural method of overall health and healing for pets. Newborn to senior, small to large, park walker to competitive athlete — her goal is that each pet enjoys a comfortable, healthy and active life.

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5 Foods Needed To Balance Your Hormones

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Did you know that your diet can impact your hormones?! And I am not just talking about hormones like estrogen and testosterone, this includes thyroid and adrenal hormones too. The thyroid produces T3 and T4 to help regulate your metabolism. The adrenals are responsible for dealing with stress (cortisol) and blood pressure (aldosterone), but they also produce progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen. A poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle can cause your endocrine system to be off balance.

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Why do I feel…?

  • Tired and unmotivated?
  • Easily overwhelmed?
  • Sleepy after lunch?
  • Very sensitive to cold or hot?
  • Dizzy when going from sitting to standing?
  • Stressed? (doesn’t everyone?!)
  • Insomnia or un-refreshing sleep?
  • Like you can’t kick your carb cravings

Do you ever notice…

  • Excess hair falling out?
  • Weight gain around your abdomen?
  • Heavy or painful menses?
  • PMS?
  • Irregular cycle?
  • Hot flashes?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of the items listed, your hormones could use a nutritional boost! Here is the list of foods that help support your ovaries, adrenals, and thyroid.

Broccoli, detox, health, resolution, weight, hormones

  1. Broccoli and his cruciferous cousins.

Your liver is the powerhouse behind all hormones, working behind the scenes to allow your hormones to express themselves when needed. Your liver also has to power through junk like sugar, processed foods, toxins, alcohol, excess fat, and even medications. Our liver needs all the help it can get and cruciferous veggies, also known as Brassica, are just the answer.

Broccoli and his other green friends contain sulphur compounds that support the detoxification pathways and fat metabolism. Glucosinolates which are metabolized to form  indole-3-carbinol or I3C and DIM in theses green veggies may help also prevent cancers like breast, cervical, colon, and prostate. But, not only are your liver and endocrine systems supported by these veggies, your bones benefit from the calcium and they lower homocysteine levels to protect your heart. Wow! So, which veggies do you need to include in your diet? Swiss chard, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, radish, rapini, arugula, spinach, turnip, kale, and bok choy.

Tip: Cook them to destroy goitrogenic effects that can slow down an already sluggish thyroid. See this veggie recipe and this one too.

Seaweed, nutrition, health, hormones

  1. Seaweed

For those of you in Minnesota, I am not talking about the seaweed at your nearest lake. This is seaweed from the ocean that you might find wrapped around your favorite sushi roll, seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant or in one of my favorite snacks – roasted seaweed.

Thyroid hormones production requires iodine and seaweed is very high in iodine. A deficiency can cause thyroid problems, goiter, and stunted growth in children.

Tip: Iodized salt and fish also contain iodine. Do not take an iodine supplement without checking with your doctor first.

Brazil Nuts, thyroid, selenium

  1. Brazil Nuts

6-8 brazil nuts (1 oz) provide 10x the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults. Wow! But, why is selenium so important?

Remember our friend iodine from #2? Selenium helps attach iodine to the thyroid hormones. The thyroid has the highest concentration of Selenium in all the organs in the body. Selenium also protects the thyroid and aids in thyroid hormone metabolism. Anti-body (anti-TPO) levels in those with Hashimoto’s disease have been improved with Selenium supplementation as well.

Tip: You can also find our friend and antioxidant, Vitamin E in brazil nuts. 4 nuts per day is plenty.

PCOS, infertility, citrus, health

  1. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

Stress on your body triggers the adrenals to produce more cortisol. This is caused by  emotional (work, relationships, worry, anxiety, etc) or physical stress (illness, injury, exercise), lack of sleep, caffeine, and alcohol.

When there is excess or chronic stress, cortisol and sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) become imbalanced. Adrenal hormone imbalances can also contribute to weight gain, osteoporosis, weakness, weakened immune function, and irregular menses.

So, why citrus fruits? The adrenal glands and brain have more vitamin C than any other tissue in the body. During stress more vitamin C is used or lost. See the correlation between stress – lower vitamin C – greater susceptibility to infections? Citrus fruits, especially oranges are known for their high concentration of vitamin C.

Tip: eat the whole fruit including the skin (not the peel, but the fibers around the pulp) to gain the most nutrients and fiber from your fruit.

Diet, protein, PCOS, infertility, acne

  1. Protein

More protein and less sugar! The adrenal glands help with blood sugar regulation. When your body is stressed it makes more glucose (sugar) to give your body the energy it needs to cope with the stress. Because you already have enough glucose, you do not need to consume more, but need protein for energy. In fact, consuming too much sugar during times of stress puts even more stress on your adrenals, not to mention the rest of your body. Think about it…excess stress –> poor dietary habits and more sugar –> weight gain –> more stress. Stop the cycle by cutting out the sugar and increasing your protein intake.

Tip: Protein includes animal protein, but also beans, lentils, veggies like spinach, nuts, and seeds.

Thank you for reading and we wish you balance in your life and your hormones!

~ Dr. Katie Corazzo

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Nutrition is essential to our health. If you continue to have hormonal imbalances and would like to seek out natural therapies with naturopathic medicine, call your local Naturopathic Doctor or Dr. Katie for a complimentary 10 minute consultation. She practices in Edina and Woodbury Minnesota, but patients come from all over the twin cities. Dr. Katie uses alternative medicine and holistic care to uncover the root cause of imbalance. We hope to hear from you soon! 612-564-2218

References:

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23046013
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10403185
  • http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=4635&channel_id=44&relation_id=48472
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/i3c/

Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Balls

chocolate peanut butter date balls

Peanut Butter, dates, healthy, nutritious, weight loss, dessert, snack

I love when I have a great excuse to make a “healthy” dessert, or as my mom cleverly called a “Katiefied” dessert. While searching for something sweet for girls night, I came across this recipe for raw chocolate peanut butter date balls, and have to give Angela Liddon most (all) of the credit! I love peanut butter so I added more peanut butter to the recipe and used dairy free dark chocolate chips to keep it dairy and gluten-free. My girlfriends went crazy over them and I hope you do too!

Here was my take on the “YOLO Balls”:

Guilt-Free Dessert Recipe: Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Balls

Ingredients

Servings: Makes over 50 small peanut butter balls

  • 1 container of Medjool dates (with the pits – I think they are more fresh and soft, but remove pits first)
  • 3 heaping Tbsp peanut butter with salt (can substitute for your favorite nut butter if you have a peanut allergy)
  • 1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp organic coconut oil
  • Sea salt

Directions

1. Remove pits and quarter dates

2. Add dates and peanut butter to food processor and mix. The peanut butter and dates will be very sticky, but will form a large ball.

3. Store in freezer for 10 minutes to make it easier to shape. While these are in the freezer you can line your plate with parchment paper and measure chocolate chips and coconut oil.

4. Wet hand in water – roll dates and peanut butter into small 1/2 inch balls. I think the smaller the better – easier to munch on and the chocolate:dates and peanut butter ratio is better 🙂 Place in freezer for 10 more minutes

4. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil over low heat. If cooked too long it will start to burn.

5. Remove from heat and add in date balls 5 at a time. Coat by turning ball over in the chocolate with a fork.

6. Remove from chocolate and place on a plate lined with parchment paper (I didn’t have any on hand so I placed them directly on the glass plate – made it more difficult to remove them!)

7. Sprinkle light amount of sea salt on chocolate if desired.

8. Place toothpick in the center of each ball to make it easier to grab

9. Store in the freezer until time to eat. They are best when they are cold so make sure they have at least 20 minutes in the freezer before serving.

10. Enjoy your chocolate peanut butter date balls!